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Every academic year draws to a close with some of our biggest events, the biggest of them all being residential Summer Camp!!

SummerCamp presents us with a golden opportunity to round off the school year with a ‘big bang’ and especially, seal the great relationships we have with the kids who, a few weeks later, make the giant step up to secondary education.

Every year, our SummerCamp residential trip speaks volumes for the work the Marvels do in Rhondda and also, for the amount of children they impact daily. SummerCamp 2017 for instance, at PGL Liddington in Swindon, saw 175 children make the four-day trip. At well over 200, the 2018 Camp up to Colomendy, North Wales, is even bigger! The fact that parents are so ready to put their confidence in us and to trust us with their children, is a massive illustration of the high esteem in which Sporting Marvels is held by the community at large. It's something we don't take lightly or take for granted, and it's one of the key reasons why we are so determined to not just maintain standards, but to drive them higher still.

Experience has taught us that SummerCamp is by far our best “big group” opportunity of the year, and we're believing that this year’s SummerCamp will be the best by far!

In addition to SummerCamp bringing great relationship building and influencing opportunities, there's loads of x-factor activities to challenge the campers, things like abseiling, rock climbing, water sports, tunnelling, trapeze, zip-line, jacob’s ladder, and the 'giant' swing. It's all part of a packed itinerary that is designed to emphasize teamwork and commitment, build character, and encourage every camper to rise to the challenge. It's a recipe that guarantees an abundance of positive shared and individual memories, and the SummerCamp experience is one that is talked about over and over for years into the future.

SummerCamp though, would be an impossible dream if it wasn't for our awesome All-Star Leaders. The sheer numbers involved mean that the Marvels just wouldn't be able to cope without their help, and we're incredibly grateful for the time and financial sacrifice they make in order to attend, for the way they lead the groups, and for being such outstanding role models to the younger kids.

Team Leader, Smithy, has been on every single one of our residential SummerCamps, and when caught up with him to talk about the logistics of SummerCamp 2018, he told us: “It was amazing and the unique atmosphere Is always something the campers never forget! Every year we try to introduce a new range of activities so as to maintain the challenge element and also, to keep things fresh for the All-Stars who keep coming year-in year-out. There's always a real buzz to everything and the sense of family, especially amongst the All-Stars, is massive. Seeing the Ferndale, Tonypandy and Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda All-Stars come together as one team is really brilliant to watch. Every year we fret over the weather but, save for the odd downpour here and there, every SummerCamp has enjoyed pretty good weather! It makes a big difference of course, and helps keep spirits up. We also create a unique theme for each camp, and for SummerCamp 2017, it was for example, 'You are what you EAT', with 'EAT standing for encouragement, ambition and testimony. We also write a SummerCamp song and incorporate the theme into the lyrics and if you've seen any of our highlights videos, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! I think it’s pretty safe to say that our SummerCamps over the years, have been really successful, both from the kids' perspective and also, the Marvels!!"

When we spoke with Chelsea, Smithy's fellow Team Leader, she homed in on the more sentimental aspects “I love the memories you create!” she said through a big smile. “SummerCamp really does end the year on a high! Every year, the demand for places gets higher and higher and last November, places sold out within three or four days of going on sale! It's all the excited campers want to talk about for six months and come the day of departure, they are ready to burst! We link up the Marvels to the kids that they teach, so there is maximum empathy and the best possible opportunity to influence. It's a strategy that definitely works and, truth be told, I sometimes think the Marvels enjoy the trips away even more than the kids!!”

The whole team is looking forward to SummerCamp 2019, and the kids, well... they can't wait!!